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Galpinia transvaalica


Water Needs

moderate; drought hardy

Galpinia transvaalica
Tree small; Tree medium
Wild Pride-of-India

3 – 10 m


Light Conditions

sun; semi-shade




white December to April; summer autumn

Garden Situation

sun; semi-shade; container; Screen; shrubbery; wildlife Insects birds butterflies bees; feature tree; small area tree; clay soils;


woodland forest; grassland; bushveld


Highveld; western cape; bushveld savanna;

Rain Season


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As a distressing drought grips much of the country, there couldn’t be a better time to introduce this attractive, drought hardy tree. Despite its narrow distribution range, the Wild Pride-of-India has many characteristics that make it a garden tree with character. Stems are often crooked with low-hanging branches that make an effective screen, and the canopy supports beautiful autumn and spring foliage. Though an adult tree can survive a prolonged drought, it is, reportedly frost tender though it could withstand a light frost if given sufficient protection, especially when young. Numerous small white flowers with crinkly petals form dense bunches that cover the dark, glossy green foliage from October to May. They bring many beneficial insects to the garden, flies and butterflies especially, and you can be sure the insectivorous birds are not far behind. The evergreen canopy with its shiny, dark green leaves, provides excellent year-round shade, a lovely contrast to the soft grey bark. New Spring leaves emerge in shades of copper and red, and in cold regions (frost free though) autumn and winter displays are yellow and red. Leaf margins are distinctly wavy with a prominent midrib with a distinctive gland at their tip. Thick bunches of red-brown fruit follow the flowers from April to July – small flattened seeds made for wind dispersal. Summer rainfall gardens can expect the mature height to reach between 7-10 m, but around Cape Town full height is reported to be between 3 and 5m. In the wild, trees along rivers can grow to 15 m. Growth rate is about 80 cm a year. Galpinia transvaalica has non-aggressive roots, thrives in containers and is popular with bonsai enthusiasts. It takes well to pruning with a rapid growth speed, making it an effective evergreen hedge. Fanie and Julye-Ann Venter, in their book ‘Making the most of Indigenous Trees’ suggest Galpinia is an important fodder plant on cattle and game farms, trees often being defoliated by Kudu during the dry winter. Distribution range covers Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga. Natural habitats are varied; woodlands, thickets, scrub forest and evergreen forest margins. Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga

Galpinia transvaalica
Galpinia transvaalica
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